A hard earned three points

Bashley 2 Christchurch 1
Wessex Premier

There was hardly time for the expectant crowd of 211 to settle before Christchurch were one up! In the first minute, Priory forced a corner which an unmarked Luke Stone dutifully headed home.

A stung Bashley threw everything forward but failed to make an impression; the closest being a Brad Strickland attempt from a Jamie Webber assist that was easily saved. Moments later, Strickland was involved at the other end but thankfully the free kick resulting from his ‘one for the team’ foul was smartly saved by the diving Ollie Bull. Lewis Ross was unlucky when his assault on goal was blocked and two long range dead-ball kicks from Conor Whiteley, although on target, lacked venom.

The breakthrough came in the 28th minute when following a pass from Ross, Harry McGrath unselfishly squared his chance across the face of the goal to the better positioned Webber who made no mistake with a hard drive.

End to end play kept the crowd on their feet and Stone almost doubled his account when hitting the home bar with a wicked swerving shot; whilst McGrath fared no better when his volley, following a Jack Smith solo run, took the wrong side of the bar.

The decisive goal came minutes from halftime: Strickland ignited Jack Smith with a precision cross-field pass and the effervescent wing-back moved inside with pace; his effort was half cleared only to be picked up on the radar of Whiteley some 25 yards out. This time the shot was not only on target, but his venom was back with vengeance and the net bulged.

The second half was little more frantic with both sides eager to make their mark; Bashley tried various combinations with early substitutions one of whom, Brogen Sims famed for his goals from the bench, lasted only 20 minutes before hobbling off with an ankle injury. Bashley were unsettled and the final twenty minutes were almost all Christchurch. Despite numerous corners Bull stood firm and one tip over the bar from a close-range snapshot was pure class.

Bash had the occasional break, but they were mostly on the back foot and the final whistle brought a sigh of relief from the packed stand.

Bashley: Bull, Smith J, Thompson, Strickland, Morris, Speers, Webber, Ross, McGrath, Whiteley, Smith
Used subs: Sims, Dathan, Gould
Attendance: 211
Photos: scorers Webber and Whiteley

Photos: scorers Webber and Whiteley